8th Mules vs. Slaton (10-6-2016)
The Slaton Tigers had cut the eighth grade Mules lead to 22-20 with three minutes remaining in the game. The Tigers attempted an onside kick but the Mules were prepared. Joe Gutierrez fielded the ball in the air at the Slaton 48 and raced untouched between the oncoming Tigers for a touchdown.
That late touchdown gave the Mules a 28-20 win.
Riley Kettner returned the opening kickoff to the Mule 25. Gutierrez kept the ball on back-to-back plays for runs of six and five yards. Gutierrez limbered up his arm for tosses of seven and six yards to Kurt Rodriguez.
A pair of sacks set the Mules back 15 yards leaving the Mules 25 yards for a first down. Jose Martinez took the reverse pitch 30 yards to the Tiger 35. Gutierrez kept up the middle for eight yards.
Gutierrez rolled right and pitched to Martinez for 19 yards to the Slaton four. Gutierrez kept up the middle for a four-yard touchdown and he added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Mule lead with 33 seconds left in the first period.
Elias Aguirre and Jacob Toscano plugged up the middle for no gain on the final play of the first period. Matthew Fabela and Toscano crashed into the Tiger backfield for a three-yard loss to start the second period. Slaton was forced to punt and the ball rolled out of bounds at the Slaton 45.
The Mule fumbled on first down and Slaton recovered at the Mule 44. A high snap by the Tiger center cost Slaton the ball. Toscano recovered for the Mules at the Slaton 49.
The Mules also had trouble and fumbled for an 18-yard loss. Gutierrez tossed a screen pass to Jose Martinez on the Slaton sideline for 29-yard gain. Gutierrez kept for seven yards and followed that with a 14-yard scamper.
The Mules fumbled and Slaton recovered at the Tiger 18. But the Tigers fumbled on first down and Toscano recovered for the Mules at the Slaton 13. Martinez went off left tackle for 12 yards. Gutierrez sneaked over from one-yard out. The Mules led 14-0 with 3:19 left in the half.
The Tigers ensuing drive started at the Slaton 35. A 63-yard run moved the Tigers to the Mule five. The Tigers scored on the next play and cut the Mule lead to 14-6 by the intermission.
Gutierrez kicked off for the Mules to start the second half and Kettner raced down field to recover a Tiger fumble at the Slaton 32. But the Mules returned the favor by fumbling on first down and the Tigers reclaimed the ball at the Slaton 34.
The Tigers went on to score on a 61-yard reverse to cut the Mule lead to 14-12 with 5:51 remaining in the third period.
Eli Macias broke in front of a Tiger receiver to intercept a pass at the Slaton 46. Martinez gained a first down on a reverse with the third quarter drawing to a close. Gutierrez kept up the middle for a 36-yard touchdown.
Martinez went off tackle for the two-point conversion to put the Mules ahead 22-12 with 7:50 left in the game.
The Mules forced the Tigers to punt but turned the ball over with a fumble. Slaton scored with three minutes left in the game to set up the onside kick attempt.
Gutierrez led the Mules in rushing with 97 yards and Martinez was close behind with 73 yards. Kurt Rodriguez caught passes totaling 15 yards.
Martinez led the Mules with eight tackles, Mario Guardado made five and Elias Aguirre had four stops. Dmetri Ramirez and Eli Macias made an interception each. Jacob Toscano recovered two fumbles and Riley Kettner recovered one.